YEP Update: February

February 4th, 2017

The YEP youth are knee-deep in their community conservation projects!  Topics include improving recycling programs, the impacts of therapeutic horticulture, addressing urban runoff and increasing the amount of time youth spend outside – especially in the winter.  This month we took some time to connect with each other, connect with our projects, connect with nature, and… connect with Skeeter. 

Zookeeper Jill introduced us to the gentle giants of Como and shared the work Giraffe Conservation Foundation does to preserve critical giraffe habitat. 

Did you know, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) focuses on reconnecting youth in Namibia with nature?  World-wide, it is recognized that time outside plays a critical role in the growth and development of young people – and adults.   In 2010, the University of Rochester released the results of five different experiments that showed how spending time in nature can improve a person’s well-being.  For a deeper read on this topic, check out Richard Louv’s book; Last Child in the Woods. With this in mind, we ventured outside, exploring Como Regional Park.

We also took a few minutes to watch the video produce by YEP’s team from Urban Roots.  Their conservation project centers on encouraging young people to get outside and explore all that winter has to offer.  Urban Roots, along with St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Wilderness Inquiry, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and many other organizations will be hosting the 2017 Phalen Freeze Fest from 2:00 – 6:00 on Saturday, February 11.  Participants can try their hand at snowshoeing, cooking over fire, ice fishing, and building a snow cave.  Great, winter-themed prizes are available too!  You won’t want to miss Urban Root’s performance of the Legend of Shingebiss!  Tie your boots, zip your parka, and tell your friends to join you at Freeze Fest!


Make A Difference With Your Valentine’s Day Chocolates

February 2nd, 2017

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is proud to partner with Seroogy’s to support the AZA’s groundbreaking conservation initiative, SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction. Como is home to one of the first SAFE focus species: the African Penguin.  A portion of every sale of the SAFE chocolate gift box will support African penguin conservation.

This SAFE gift box features a special 1 oz. milk chocolate card promoting SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction), along with an assortment of Seroogy’s popular homemade chocolates. The gift box includes caramels, meltaways, nut clusters, truffles, creams and coconut clusters, packaged in a gold gift box with a clear cover. Click here to learn more about SAFE, the collective expertise and focus of 232 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to save species.

Click here to purchase a SAFE chocolate gift box

Get FREE SHIPPING with your purchase when you enter promo code SAFE17

This product is palm oil free.



Another Day, Another New Baby Animal At Como!

November 14th, 2016


Please welcome (and visit!) Lucile, one of Como’s newest babies! Lucile is a saki monkey born in the early morning hours of October 24 to mother Patty, and father Milton. This is Milton and Patty’s eighth baby, all born at Como. Their other offspring are all over the country now, from San Diego to Fargo.

The name Lucile is a nod to longtime primate zookeeper Megan who lost her beloved Grandmother Lucile earlier this year.

Saki monkeys have a gestation of five months. Sakis are independent at six months of age but will usually stay with their family group for a year or two.

Patty (18 yo) was born on St. Patty’s Day at Cleveland; Milton (16 yo) was born at Pittsburg. They came to Como 14 years ago to form a breeding pair. Sakis can live into their thirties and will often mate for life.

Sakis display sexual dichromism, which means the males and females are different colors. Infants are born with the brown female coloration, and the males begin to develop the characteristic black body and white face at two months of age.

So why is Patty holding a spoon of peanut butter you ask? She quickly grabbed it from a zookeeper who was using it to entice her to get a good photo!




Zookeeper Melanie in Churchill

October 25th, 2016

Zookeeper Melanie is in Churchill, Manitoba for a couple of weeks working with Polar Bears International! Be sure to follow this blog as we post about her journey!

Update #5

These little balls of fur were born last December! Who doesn’t love Polar Bear cubs?!


Update #4

Lots of other critters call the the wildlife management area near Churchill home and this year we have seen a lot of them!  Arctic Fox, Silver Fox, Ptarmigan, Arctic Hare and Snowy owls are just a few.  It has been amazing to see so many species and share in the collective excitement on the buggy as everyone enjoys these animals.  People from all over the globe are instant friends in that moment, connected to nature and each other.  It truly is amazing.

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Update #3

Polar Bears International focuses on Polar bear conservation through education and research.  My job on the buggy is to help by educating the many guests about Polar Bears and the effects of a changing climate.  Every day is different, today my group had people from Australia, England, the United States, Japan, and Canada!

Update #2

Today we got to see these two little females interacting and playing.  It was fun to see bears moving around and having fun.  They stayed together for about 30 minutes and then went their separate ways.

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Update #1

First day in Churchill!   We are out on buggy one (the buggy reserved for Polar Bears International) testing cameras to get ready for PBI’s  live polar bear cam and came across this sleepy girl.  The Hudson Bay is still open water but the smaller pools left by the tide are starting to freeze.
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Minnesota En Plein Air: A Painting Exhibition – Now Open

October 18th, 2016

Minnesota En Plein Air: A Painting Exhibition is a stunning painting exhibition featuring some of the most talented artists in Minnesota. The exhibit runs now through December 11.

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OPM’s (Outdoor Painters of Minnesota) Mission

The mission of Outdoor Painters of Minnesota is to encourage and promote painting directly from nature.  OPM provides regular opportunities for members to paint together, looks for ways to develop member skills and reputation, and seeks to raise awareness of the beauty found in nature through outdoor painting.